Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grandma Italian Spongecake with Dark Rum

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

Perfect for 4th of July red, white and blue, homemade sponge cake!

Not too many steps, a easy old fashioned Italian Style Sponge cake, my grandmother made this often...and was her favorite cake, soaked in dark rum.

When I was little grandma and I would occasionally walk to a local bakery to buy miniature rum cakes, they were so good. They had delicious rum pudding filled sponge cakes. That is also a great alternative in making this fresh cake into that special filled pudding rum cake, recipe at the end, ....and it makes an amazing cake! She has long sinced passed in 1975. RIP grandma...and thank you.

At 94 years old grandma still loved her rum soaked sponge cake. Although she loved her homeland and was orginally straight from Rome Italy, she really loved our country, and the 4th of July she knew well and respected this day. She always would make her cake with plenty of fresh fruits and homemade whipped cream. Back in those days they got their heavy cream skimmed off the top of whole milk that was delivered to the house. They actually had a milk man in those days! I can vaguely remember that guy coming over in the early morning to drop it off. But they always were able to make fresh whipped cream off the top,it was awesome! Grandma would pour rum straight onto the cake layers when dad had it around and then top with fruits and cream, what a treat! I thought this would be a perfect light dessert for the 4th of July festive and pretty in her honor! Thanks grandma, everyone is sure to love your recipe.....

Italian Sponge Cake...
Cake Batter
6 eggs separated
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch a salt
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
Dark rum to your preference pour over the bottom layer (optional)
Beat whites until very stiff, set aside.

Beat yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt , sifted flour and flavoring.
Fold in egg whites. Pour into prepared pan.
Pan recommendations:
Use two small 8 inch rounds, or brownie pan for tiramisu do not grease sides of pan just the bottom only. You can also use a tube pan if you just want a plain cake no fillings or topping.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or till brown. Cool. Your cake is now ready for your favorite creation.
Grandma would pour straight rum on the first layer, you can see some of it in the picture above. Then top with fresh fruit of choice her actual favorite was either peaches or pineapple. But this is a special edition for the 4th of July in red, white in blue....

Suggested fruits would be pineapple, peaches, strawberries, blueberry, cherries, red or blackberry, banana or just plain with powdered sugar.......
Cake with a pastry cream filling if you would prefer (grandma's favorite):
Italian Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
3 teaspoons dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil . In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and rum Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours
Fill cake layer. Top with whipped cream.
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